Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair

Masha Krsmanovic

Committee Chair School



Community engagement has been embedded into higher education institutions since the early 1990s, yet scholars and practitioners still debate if there is an ideal reporting structure for coordinating offices (Jacoby, 2014). This study involved a quantitative analysis of 72 institutions who submitted information to the National Inventory of Institutional Infrastructure for Community Engagement survey (NI³CE – pronounced “nice”) between 2017 and 2020. Institutions were categorized by organizational structure (centralized vs. decentralized) and by reporting line (Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Joint Academic Affairs/ Student Affairs, Outreach, and decentralized). Using the NI³CE inventory and scoring system, points were awarded to institutions based on variables commonly associated with the institutionalization of community engagement. The results of the study indicated no significant differences between reporting structures as related to (a) an institution’s community engagement practices and support funds, (b) an institution’s funding and fundraising for community engagement centers, and (c) the extent of service-learning integration into an institution’s departments, faculty, and courses. Results supported the contradictory results found in literature, in which there are advantages and disadvantages to every reporting structure. However, findings did not support existing qualitative research that suggests an Academic Affairs reporting line is most beneficial for integration of service-learning. Further study is needed using available benchmarking tools to quantitatively examine how institutional characteristics impact achievement of indicators of community engagement.